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Monday, March 22, 2010

Fight Preview: Andre Dirrell vs. Arthur Abraham

Andre Dirrell may have come up on the short end of a 12 round split decision loss against Carl Froch, but he will have an opportunity to redeem himself when he faces Arthur Abraham in the 2nd Group Stage of Showtime’s “Super Six” Tournament. It seemed Dirrell had done enough to earn a decision victory over Carl Froch. Yet, when the judges’ scorecards were read, Dirrell was in disbelief. For the better part of their bout, Dirrell was using a great deal of lateral movement and was beating Froch to the punch. Maybe, if Dirrell would have engaged more, the judges would not have scored it so close? Well, that fight is now in the past and Dirrell cannot do anything to change it. Still, Dirrell may get the opportunity to face Froch again, although he must first get past the undefeated, hard-punching Arthur Abraham.

Abraham moved up a weight class from 160 lbs. to enter the tournament at the super middleweight limit of 168 lbs., where he scored a sensational 12th round knockout over Jermain Taylor. Abraham looked stronger and brought his powerful punch up in weight with him. He can take a heavy-handed punch, which will not help Dirrell because he possesses little punching power. Abraham likes to pressure his opponents, and will take a punch to land his own. He throws quality combinations in close range, and his hand speed may be a bit underrated. However, Abraham is not a volume puncher, but usually scores when he lets his fists go. He holds his hands high, so Dirrell may have some trouble landing punches against his tough defense. Abraham’s best punch is his overhand right, although he packs a rock-hard left hook too. Abraham is not as athletic as the younger Dirrell, nevertheless, he reacts quickly in exchanges. Will Abraham be able to catch Dirrell?

The best probability for Dirrell to be victorious will come from controlling the fight at his range. Dirrell possesses great ring generalship, and will need to stick and move to avoid trading shots with the harder puncher. At times, Dirrell may switch his stance from conventional to southpaw to give Abraham a different look. Will it be effective? Can Dirrell keep Abraham off of him? In his last bout, Dirrell was boxing very efficiently against Froch, but it appeared he could have landed more shots if he chose to be extra aggressive. Abraham appears to be a much harder puncher than Froch. It might not be the smartest idea for Dirrell to be too assertive when delivering his punches; He should choose his spots carefully. Abraham is most effective in close quarters, so if Dirrell can use his reach to score points with the judges, he will win. Will Dirrell try too hard and look to exchange often with Abraham because he lost a close decision to Froch? If Dirrell pulls out a victory, do not expect him to stop Abraham.

Prediction: I think Dirrell will look good in the early rounds, but I expect Abraham to try and slow him down with an aggressive body attack. Jermain Taylor gave the impression that he hits harder than Dirrell. Therefore, I think Abraham feels he can be more forceful against Dirrell. By applying constant pressure, Abraham will compel Dirrell to exert an extraordinary amount of energy moving around the ring. As the fight gets into the later rounds, look for Abraham to wear him down, connecting with overhand rights and left hooks to the body. Also, Abraham’s jab is pretty strong and I think he will utilize it as he charges forward. I am picking Abraham to win by an 8th round TKO.  

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